A Hybrid Approach to Team-forming for Capstone Design Projects


One of the challenges for capstone design instructors is forming equitable, balanced, and appropriately-skilled student teams to work on projects for a year. For most capstone programs, there are three main parts of this process: identification of projects, presentation of projects to students, and selection of student teams. This paper focuses on the third part: While there is significant useful research about the best ways to form student teams, capstone design team formation has unique aspects that are not directly addressed by much of the prior work. In particular, what is the best approach for team-forming when the participants have similar skills but are deployed to work on very different design challenges? In our capstone course, we recently compared two approaches to team formation: Student-formed and faculty-formed teams. The results of this comparison are reported in a separate paper. This year, informed by these results, we implemented a new hybrid team-forming process designed to retain the student agency resulting from student-formed team while addressing some of the concerns of this approach.

This paper summarizes relevant team-forming research and results from our past approaches to forming teams. Then we describe the hybrid approach implemented this year and analyze the preliminary results obtained after one quarter of student teamwork (including student surveys focus groups, and team peer evaluations).


Mechanical Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/meng_fac/114